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Newcastle is no longer the poor
northern cousin to the flashy
fanfare and heady lights of its
city rival, Sydney. The big country
town is all grown up and now well and
truly established as a destination in its
Expecting upwards of 6000 new homes
by 2036, this seaside location is an
attractive destination for lifestyle reasons,
while growth in local industry, as well as
health and education precincts, also make
it a viable employment hub.
The extensive facelift planned for the
city’s CBD will add to the appeal of
Newcastle, as work gets under way to
transform the area into a destination
that’s attractive to both families
Matthew Player, founder and chief
executive officer of Blockbrief, says the
city of Newcastle is evolving.
“While Newcastle’s industrial sector
continues to play an important role,
Newcastle is no longer a ‘steel city’,”
“A substantial and growing portion
of Newcastle’s economy is now based
around the service sectors.
“There’s an emerging arts scene with
prominent spaces at the University of
Newcastle’s Watt Space Galleries and
historic John Paynter Gallery, as well as
the prestigious Newcastle Art Gallery
where people can view public street art.
“The culinary scene is also becoming
more sophisticated with a few new cafés
and restaurants that look like they could
have come out of Sydney’s Surry Hills.”
Player says the Honeysuckle precinct,
which is a harbourside tourism
and residential area, is a growing
commercial hub with plans to increase
commercial and retail as part of the CBD
“The redevelopment is a joint venture
between UrbanGrowth NSW and the
GPT Group. It will consist of a mix of
residential apartments, boutique and
lifestyle retail and commercial space.
There will be an extra 70,000 square
metres of gross floor area within the CBD
and approximately 60 per cent of this
gross floor area will be residential.
“Council have been proactive in driving
investment into the city and working with
partners such as University of Newcastle,
UrbanGrowth NSW and GPT.
“Council have a good working
relationship with the Hunter Development
Corporation and the promotion of
development within the local government
area is reassuring to developers.”
According to Scott Walkom, director of
Newcastle’s Walkom Real Estate, it’s all
happening in the Newcastle CBD.
The city centre is headed for a huge
revival over the next three years, with
$350 million worth of projects under way
for Hunter Street, he says.
Some of the revitalisation initiatives
earmarked for the city include:
> Reshaping Hunter Street as the main
street of the city.
> Revitalising Hunter Street Mall as a
catalyst for the east end’s renewal.
> Strengthening the civic precinct and
making improvements to Wheeler Place.
> Positioning the west end as the city’s
The Newcastle Urban Renewal Strategy
also sets out to make extensive transport
improvements including park and ride
facilities, improved bus stops, connecting
pedestrian and cycle networks,
improving the rail corridor and managing
According to Lord Mayor Jeff McCloy,
the strategy establishes a framework
for the city centre to evolve and
“includes initiatives to improve the city’s
economy, access and the quality of the
The objectives are to enhance the river
and coastal setting, create a compact
and people-friendly city and attract
investment and jobs, McCloy says.
It also complements earlier work
completed by the council to upgrade
Hunter Street, he says.
“Revitalisation of the Newcastle CBD
will add to the area’s attraction. More
commercial, retail and residential space
will be constructed. Closure of the heavy
rail line and its replacement with light
rail will enhance accessibility and urban
amenity. This will improve connectivity to
both the harbourside and coast.”
In addition to the major development
initiatives under way, McCloy says other
industries such as manufacturing, health
and defence will continue to bring people
into the area.
“Manufacturing remains an important
generator of jobs and wealth in the Hunter
region and includes metal products,
machinery and equipment, chemical
processing, transport and defence,
WHERE IT’S ALL HAPPENING
Plans for a revitalised CBD, a stunning coastal location, strong employment prospects and a projected
influx of residents are set to make this New South Wales city a highly desired location.
THE STATES // NSW
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